Syria, once a popular tourist destination, is now one of the most dangerous places in the world. In early 2011, Syrian society was pull to pieces by brutal violence, in what quickly turned into an armed conflict that has killed civilians on a horrendous scale and continues to force millions of people to flee their homes, with one of the biggest waves of displacement taking place only in early 2020. People in Need was one of the first international humanitarian organisations to respond to the crisis in Syria, starting operations there in 2012. We currently reach an average of 129,000 people each month, through a range of interventions.
Even after many years of war, the security situation in Northern Syria has yet to stabilise. One in every two people have fled their homes, 50% of basic infrastructure in the country is no longer functional, and 11 million people (more than half of the population) are in need of humanitarian aid. Market prices have soared, people are out of work and the country has been looted and laid to waste. One in two people have been forced to leave their homes, many of whom no longer have access to basic food items, drinking water, shelter, education or employment opportunities. Even for those who have remained in their homes, the long-term loss of job opportunities and an unprecedented devaluation of the Syrian Pound have been devastating, while the continuous fighting and bombing has visibly damaged the local infrastructure.
In Syria we respond to the emergency and we support education and child protection. We distribute basic food items and food vouchers to those most in need, and provide emergency hygiene kits to displaced families. We provide shelter and protection for vulnerable people to cope with the winter and, at the same time, we promote public and private shelter rehabilitation. We support agriculture and the restoration of additional sources of livelihoods, including public work opportunities (e.g., cash for work). We repair public water wells and networks, rehabilitate and extend sewage systems, and build landfills. Furthermore, we help education in schools and in temporary learning centres by supporting local teachers, students and their parents; we strive to improve the quality of lessons; and we ensure psychosocial support to help conflict-affected children and their families build their resilience, including in child-friendly spaces in camps for displaced people.
At the same time, we are responding to COVID-19 through programming on sectors in which we have the most experience, with distance learning, treatment rooms and hygiene kits among other.
The purpose of our efforts is to alleviate humanitarian crisis in emergencies, as well as to provide long-term, sustainable assistance and to help the local community to be able to cope with the effects of the conflict on their own.